Canadian R&B star and 106&Park co-host Keshia Chante was long the forerunner in people’s minds as the person who would get the role of Aaliyah if a film ever was made.
She’s been vying for the role for a while now, even posing for an Aaliyah-esque photoshoot. But back in 2012, in an interview with Chris Yandek, Chante offered an update about the film, saying the family weren’t on board even back then: “I’ve spoken with some of her family and…from my understanding, it’s not something [they] plan on doing any time soon. It’s still a very delicate subject for the family…” she told Yandek.
Now, a Lifetime film of the late R&B star starring Zendaya is set to start production soon, and as reported, the family still isn‘t on board with the project, saying they weren’t contacted by producers and are in disagreement with the medium of which the film will be shown (television). In an Instagram post, Keshia says she was approached to audition for the Lifetime project, but turned it down when she found out it was moving forward after the disapproval of the Haughton family. She writes:
“Now regarding the Aaliyah film, I just want to say Thank You all for the outpouring of love & support. You guys went so hard!! It’s really touching to know that you root for me! Words can’t even express. But this particular project just wasn’t for me. After learning more about the situation & how the Haughton family truly felt, I just didn’t feel like it was right. But at the end of the day, this is just one, of what will be many movies on Babygirl’s life. So maybe one day, if it’s the right circumstance, timing & I get the blessing, I’ll choose to be a part of something. Until then, keep #Aaliyah‘s legacy alive & positive! And support my girl Zendaya who is just living out her dreams & working hard to do so! xo KC.”
Teyana Taylor also auditioned for the role, but backed out when she heard of the family’s disapproval.
Most everyone agrees that the Haughton family SHOULD have been notified, and should be involved in SOME way. But while the role is an opportunity to show Zendaya’s growth as an actress, will her decision to do the movie, instead, make her a villain in the eyes of Aaliyah fans?